DJI Mavic 3 – 2 Month Review
This is the dji mavic 3.. Its the long awaited follow up to the mavic 2 pro, which came out about three years ago and was incredibly successful and a really really good drone. I used it myself for well over two years. All over the world and was just super happy with it now im here in iceland and the last time i was here in iceland last year i was doing a review of the air 2s, which is a drone that i really love its a drone that i Think is absolutely fantastic. Now dji sent me this and asked me if id be interested in testing it and reviewing it and im interested im kind of curious to see how it stacks up against the mavic 2 pro and the a2s, which is the drone that im using at the moment. Now, where im coming from as a drone user, is that im a full time, landscape, photographer and primarily most of my images – are taken with a regular camera. But i do use drones a lot in my work because they give you incredible points of view that you just simply cant get with anything else other than a drone, and i use them also for shooting video for youtube. Videos like this and for vlogs and that kind of thing so theyre not my primary tool. That would be my camera, but they are something that i use a lot now when you first take this out of the box, it does feel like a really refined really.
Well designed product dji, i have been refining this with each iteration since the original mavic pro its been getting better and better the build quality, the quality of the gimbal and theres. Just something about this. When i, when i first opened it, the quality of the the plastic feels really premium, it feels a lot tougher, a lot more resilient. The gimbal is really well designed. It feels really solid a little bit sleeker. The legs are a little bit thinner and it just feels like a really nice product now when it comes to the size and weight its more or less the same as the mavic 2 pro its a few millimeters bigger in each one of its dimensions, length, width And height, but surprisingly, a few grams lighter, so youre not really going to notice a difference when you put it in your bag, its going to fit in the same space, its not going to take up more space and its going to feel about the same weight. But obviously it is significantly bigger and significantly heavier than something like the air 2s. Now the batteries are bigger and heavier than on the mavic 2 pro. So if youre starting to add up the batteries and take more and more batteries with you, then youre going to notice a difference. But this bigger battery does give you a significantly longer flight time, which is something that im going to talk about later, and the fact that you get that longer flight time means that you probably need to take fewer batteries with you anyway.
Now, youll also notice that the arms are longer which allows for the props to be bigger. Now these bigger props help towards extending the flight time, but they also make the drone quite a bit quieter, and not only is it quieter, but the pitch of it is significantly different. Its much deeper its much bassier than the kind of really high pitched noise that you get with a lot of germs. So i did find that the the noise it had made was a lot less irritating. Now, one of the first things that youre going to notice when you get this out of the box, is this huge oversized gimbal, which has to be so big because its accommodating that really big micro, four thirds sensor and two cameras? It really does feel big, but its also beautifully designed and feels really solid. One of the things that i like about it is that when you, when you switch the drone off when you power it off, the gimbal actually locks. So it doesnt feel like its flopping around in the back, which kind of helps give it a sense of security and youll also notice that it actually projects a little bit further forward, actually slightly out past the nose. Now, this kind of puts the camera a little bit more at risk if you crash the drone, but what it also allows you to do is to lift the camera up a little bit more to tilt it up without getting the rotors in the shot.
Now that matters a lot for me, because i film a lot around mountains and with the mavic 2 pro. It was something that i struggled a lot with. Youd have to get the drone quite far back or quite high. If you didnt want to cut off the top of the mountains with this, because you can lift the gimbal up a little bit more than you could with that room, it allows you to fit more in the shot. The camera. The camera on the main camera is also a wider focal length, its a 24 millimeter in terms of full frame equivalent focal length, which is quite wide its wider than the mavic 2 pro, which was about 28 millimeters. So again that helps with getting taller things like trees or mountains into the shot, although its not as wide as something like the air 2s. But there is also available for this a wide angle lens, which just fits on the front, which will give you an effective focal length of 15 millimeters, which is really really wide. Now i havent used that yet, but i really am quite interested in seeing that now ill talk more about the cameras later in the video. When i look at image quality but overall the feel of this drone, it really does feel fantastic. It really does feel solid and very well made. So when it comes to the image quality, it is, as you expect really nice video looks really really good.
It doesnt have the high default sharpening of the air 2s and the the video just looks really nice and smooth. Now you can shoot 5.1 k up to 50 frames per second, which gives you a bit of leeway for slow motion and at 4k you can shoot up to 120 frames per second, which allows you to slow the video down four times now. Even though this is a 20 megapixel sensor, like the mavic 2 pro like the a2s, it uses every pixel on the sensor, which is what gives you that 5.1 k, as opposed to the 4k on the mavic 2 pro, because that cropped into the sensor or you. It uses the whole of the sensor, but not all of the pixels. Now this is basically because the uh, the mavic 3, has 200 megabits per second bitrate, which is a lot faster. It transfers that data a lot faster, whereas the mavic 2 pro can only transfer data at 100 megabits per second and thats, where that difference comes from now. There are some caveats with the with the 5.1 k, if youre using active track, you have to shoot in 4k. Now this is the same as the a2s and i have to admit that is a little bit disappointing. But what about the micro? Four third sensor that bigger sensor that youve got on the main camera. Now the main advantage youre going to see from a larger sensor like this is an increase in the light performance and an increase in dynamic range.
When i use it on a recent trip to tuscany, the increased dynamic range really was noticeable when in places where shooting directly into the light, the control of the highlights was really impressive. I was also really impressed by the low light performance. This scene here is shot at iso 800 and i basically underexposed it and then brightened it, pushed it quite away in post and really happy with how it looks now do all the shooting in d log, which is a flat profile which gives you a lot of Room for grading images on the cd version. You can also capture data in prores, which is a professional codec which doesnt compress the data in the same way and gives you much more data for color grading. But, to be honest, this is something thats pretty much just for professional use if youre going to be shooting a commercial project for a really big screen for pretty much every other case, the h.265 codec its enough. Its absolutely excellent for grading and most people are not going to notice a difference now it does have the telephoto camera. Although to be honest, i didnt use it that much. It has a smaller harford sensor and theres no d log, which really matters to me because its harder to grade the footage and to get it consistent with what im shooting with the other main camera. But it is an interesting addition and i can imagine situations where it could be useful, but overall you do notice a step down in quality with the files.
I prefer to stick with the main camera. Now it does have variable aperture, which is really useful, because it gives you more control of the amount of light thats hitting the sensor, making it easier to stick with a frame rate of about 1 over 60, which gives you smoother less jerky footage. Now, youll still almost certainly need nd filters if you want to stay at those kind of frame rates, but the variable aperture allows you to make adjustments actually in flight without needing to land and change filters, its not something that matters for photos, though. As depth of field really shouldnt be an issue when youre shooting photographs with a drone which brings me to the photo quality now again its the same resolution as the as the air 2s and the mavic 2 pro. So the advantages from the larger sensor are going to be again in dynamic range and low light, but it has to be said. The images look absolutely stunning straight out of the camera. Theres, just a smoothness about them, theres a quality about them and it really does feel like theres a lot of detail there. Now 20 megapixels is generally enough to make decent sized prints. But personally i do think its a its a bit of a pity that there hasnt been an increase in resolution. I generally, i dont, really care about resolution that much, but with drone images when youre often quite far away from the subject, it is nice to be able to crop in a little bit and that extra resolution would give you that ability.
Now i shoot all my images in raw which captures all of the data of the scene and allows me to process it later, and the raw files are really nice. Theres a lot of leeway. Theres, a lot of dynamic range, a lot of capacity to brighten the images or darken them or control the highlights and with the telephoto lens. It does give you a different perspective and allows you to compress different layers of the landscape together a little bit, and also with the most recent firmware update. You can now shoot raw images with it. The smaller sensor, though, and the lower resolution do mean that you notice a difference theres a step down in quality between the two cameras. Overall, then, the video and photo quality is really nice. Now, youre not going to notice a huge amount of difference between something like the mavic 2 pro or the air 2s. When you start to work with the files, when you work with a when you work with the d log footage or when you work with the raw files, you do notice that there is a little bit more there to work with the. The images are a little bit cleaner. The footage is a little bit cleaner, theres, less noise, and you do have a lot more leeway when it comes to things like dynamic range and shooting low light. Now it comes to its flight performance. I found this to be an incredibly stable drone, its really easy to fly its really responsive its not too fidgety.
It really feels quite stable and solid in the air, and the flight just feels really smooth now ive flown it in iceland, so ive flown in some relatively high winds and never really felt any in any way that that was affecting the footage and all the time That i was flying in iceland. I didnt get a single wind warning once even when i was flying in relatively strong winds, i never really got the feeling that the the drone was in any way struggling to deal with with the gusts or the wind that we had here and even hovering it. You can see that it managed to keep relatively stable, even in situations like this, where there was quite strong gusts from the side. Winds now in terms of the connection, its ocusync 3.0, which is the same as the air 2s and then all the time that ive been flying, that drone ive always been really impressed with how solid that connection is and its the same with the mavic 3.. Now i dont really like to push the range limit of drones, its rare that im flying more than a kilometer or a kilometer and a half away. But when you do do that its really nice to know that youve got a secure connection, it just gives you a lot more confidence when youre flying, particularly if youre flying out over things like water over glaciers or volcanoes and with the mavic 3. The connection just like with the a2s has always been rock solid and even in places like the highlands in iceland, where, in with some of my previous drones connection, has been a little bit more patchy, ive, often gone down to a few bars or ive had dropouts Or magnetic interference didnt suffer that at all.
At any point, it was always getting a really strong image. Back from the drone always thought the drone was completely under control. The least number of satellites that ive been able to connect to is something like 16, but its usually somewhere around about the mid 20s and as ive said, this really does matter quite a lot when youre flying the drone. When youve got it a long way out. When its windy its really nice to know that the connection that youve got coming back from the drone is rock solid. One of the big talking points of the mavic 3 is that flight time, which dji advertised at 46 minutes but of course, youre never going to get that kind of flight time, thats in perfect conditions, with no wind with perfect levels of humidity. In reality, people will talk about getting something like about 35 minutes of flight time, but even then performance varies if youre, like me, youre always going to be bringing the drone back to you when youre at about 30 of the battery left or more, if its particularly Windy, so how much flight time you get is really dependent on that first 60 or 70 of the battery. Now one of the things that i really like about the mavic 3 is usually that first part of the battery is just enough for one flight. Youll get the drone up fly it over to where you want to do. Do some passes in different directions.
Some rotations stuff, like that some orbits do some photos and then, by the time youve got the drone back. Youve maybe got like half battery left 40 of the battery left, which isnt really enough for you to be taking off again so im always putting in a new battery, and i tend to go back home with all of my batteries. Pretty much half or a little bit less half than half full, but with the mavic 3 because of that much more extended battery life. What i found is that i can get usually two flights out of one battery, so i can get it flight up, get it about a kilometer away. Do some passes bring the drone back and youre still at about 70 percent, which is comfortable for when you want to take off again a little bit later and do another flight, and that really makes a big difference so youre getting usually about 25 minutes of actual Usable flight time out of it, which is something like the air 2s or the mavic 2 pro – that was much more like about 15 minutes, maybe a little bit more before youre at that 30 mark and youre bringing the drone back home. Now i tend not to use a lot of the automated functions on the drone things like master shots and stuff like that, because i like to be in control of how the drone is flying, but i do use an active track, a lot particularly for tracking shots.
The following shots for orbiting shots things like that and its something that i do really like using it. I found it very easy and very intuitive to use on the mavic 3 its got the same kind of integration as the air 2s, its very intuitive and very easy to access when youre flying the drone. I did find that if youre too far away that, if the object that youre trying to track the the vehicle, or particularly with the person, then it does find it quite hard to lock on a track. You have to get relatively close once youve done, that you can tend to back off a little bit and get the item get the get the object that youre tracking a little bit further away. But once you do, it really does work very well and you can get some excellent shots of circling around moving objects or following yourself, while youre walking and its a feature that i do really like a lot and find much more intuitive and easier to use than It is in something like the mavic 2 pro now. The obstacle avoidance on this drone is absolutely excellent. Youve got sensors at the front. Youve got sensors at the back. Youve got sensors on the side for lateral movements, sensors on top when youre moving up and down and sensors on the bottom, so pretty much 360 degrees all the way around obstacle avoidance. Now i dont really use the drone for following my through myself, through trees and stuff, like that, so i cant really speak to how well it works for that kind of thing.
But what i do like to have is the security of knowing that, when im flying it when im flying it a little bit far away and you get and its very difficult to judge distances and depth, and things like that, when youre near cliffs or rocks the Obstacle avoidance does work really well, so if youre flying backwards and youre going to hit a rock, it will let you know you get a warning on the screen and then it will stop the drone, and i did find it incredibly accurate, very, very dependable im using A lot in snow and drones do tend to have problems when working in in in lots of snow, because obstacle avoidance works with things like contrast and stuff like that. But even though there was a warning on the screen telling me that the obstacle avoidance, sensors, wouldnt wouldnt, normally function as well, i did find that they were very accurate and one thing that i do really like about. This is the sensors on the side, because i do tend to do a lot of sideways movements. I do a lot of panning shots. I do a lot of orbital shots and one thing that the air2s lacks. Is these sensors so as youre moving around an object, you really dont know sometimes, if youre flying a little bit sideways if youre going to crash into a cliff or a rock or a tree, or something like that because its out of your vision in the camera, The camera is facing forwards as the drones flying sideways, but with this it really does work and on a number of times, just let me know when i was getting too close to the ground or when its getting too close to an object.
Overall then, the mavic 3 is an excellent drone with its overall video and photo quality, with its build quality, its flight capabilities and its battery life, its probably the best consumer drone on the market right now, and if you want the absolute best, then this is probably The drone that you should be looking at, however, that doesnt mean that its the best drone for you. It has very similar photo and video output to something like the air 2s and for most people the photo and the video they get from that are going to be good enough, because the differences really arent that big. But if you value things like the better low light performance of the larger sensor, as well as a slightly better dynamic range things like the adjustable aperture, the sideways facing sensors, the overall build quality or the really good battery life, then this is absolutely a drone that You should be looking at now. I think thats it for this video. I think thats pretty much covered everything, certainly in my use of using the drone, but if ive missed anything or if youve got any questions drop me an email or drop me a comment below and ill get back to you if youre interested in my photography, if Youre interested in the way that i shoot ill be back in iceland next year for workshops in the winter and the summer, as well as lofton, namibia, possibly greenland, the dolomites.
So i have a look at my website. All of my workshops are there and drop me. A line drop me an email if theres anything that youre interested in as always thanks.